People in England must have a valid reason for foreign travel - or they could face a £200 fine

Monday, 8th March 2021, 12:59 pm
Updated Monday, 8th March 2021, 1:00 pm
From 8 March, the rules around international travel have changed (Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

From today, Monday 8 March, people looking to travel outside of the UK from England are required to complete a travel declaration form and have a valid reason for travelling - or face a £200 fine.

The form should be completed and printed, or saved to a mobile phone or other device.

You may be asked to show this declaration form at the port of departure, and you may need to carry evidence to support your reason for travelling. The Government website explains that “you may not travel abroad to go on holiday”.

The Government states: “Entering a port of departure to travel internationally without a completed form is a criminal offence, for which you could be fined.

“If you try to travel abroad without a legally permitted reason, you may also be fined for breaching the stay at home requirements.”

Fixed Penalty Notice of £200

If you are caught breaking the rules of the Stay at Home order, you can be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence - however, this can double up for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

You can also be fined £800 if you attend a private gathering such as a house party of over 15 people from outside of your household, which will also double for each repeat offence to a maximum of £6,400.

If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, you can be issued with fines of £10,000.

Travel declaration form

The form can be found on the Government website and is two pages long.

It requires travellers to fill out details like their name, date of birth, nationality, home address, passport number (or travel document reference number) and their destination.

You will also have to declare what your reason for travelling is, and also sign the form.

Permitted reasons for international travel

There are a number of legally permitted reasons that allow international travel.

These are a few of the reasons that the Government lists as legally permitted reasons to be outside the home, including for international travel.

Work

Essential travel for business or official work purposes where it is not reasonably possible to complete that work from home.

This includes, but is not limited to, essential work or returning overseas having completed essential work, in relation to critical national infrastructure including the national rail network, national security or diplomatic purposes and elite sports competitions.

The Government recommends having the following evidence: employer’s letter, professional ID card, confirmation from sports body or evidence of participation, diplomatic mission letter, etc.

Volunteering

Again, volunteering where it is not reasonably possible to volunteer from home.

The Government recommends evidence such as a letter from the relevant organisation.

Education

For academic purposes or professional qualifications where physical presence is required, or where activities must be completed overseas.

This includes international students returning home.

Recommended evidence includes a letter or proof of membership of an academic institution.

Medical or compassionate grounds

This includes:

  • To visit someone who is dying or critically ill
  • Maternity services, or to be with someone who is giving birth, or what a baby receiving neonatal critical care
  • Medical treatment or emergency which cannot be reasonably received in the UK, or to accompany a person where necessary
  • To avoid injury or illness or escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse)

Recommended evidence includes the likes of “medical evidence describing the situation of the member of your household/close family member/a friend who is receiving treatment in hospital or whose condition is life-threatening, proof of scheduled treatment, death certificate, letter from social services, proof of hospital admission, proof of family relationship”.

Weddings, funerals and related events

To attend a wedding or a family member, to attend a funeral or event related to death, to visit a burial ground or remembrance.

Recommended evidence is a letter or invitation.

Additional permitted reasons

Other reasons classed as “reasonable excuses” include:

  • To fulfil legal obligations
  • To carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property
  • Travel in order to exercise custody rights recognised by court decision
  • Order to present oneself to a judicial or administrative authority